PEOSTA, Iowa — Peosta City Council members this week agreed to purchase a tract of land on a busy street in a pre-emptive effort to deter development that could affect neighborhood safety.

Council members voted, 3-1, to purchase a 0.31-acre lot at 7790 Burds Road for $24,000 from Gary Miller Construction Inc. Council Member Carla Reuter cast the lone opposing vote.

After the meeting, Reuter said she was worried about the precedent being set for future land acquisitions.

“That will be the price of all the land we have to pay from now on, and it wasn’t even an acre,” she said. “If we purchase other land, I’m afraid that will be the price of it.”

The triangular plot of land is located near the city’s popular community center. According to online property tax records, the land’s 2019 assessed value is $29,530.

City Administrator Whitney Baethke said while there are no formal plans for the property at this time, the intention is to keep the area as green space.

“It’s a really busy intersection anyway, so the council thought it was a benefit in limiting (development there),” she said. “It’s good for visibility and traffic safety to keep that lot open.”

The move was one of many made by City Council members this week.

They also voted unanimously to purchase new software for the Peosta Police Department. The expense is capped at $6,000.

Police Chief Mike Comer said the new software, called SunGard, will allow for greater efficiency and communication between local officers and other agencies. Those include law enforcement departments in Dubuque, Asbury, Farley and New Vienna, all of which already use the system.

”It’s kind of a need, not a want, for our department to move forward and keep up with the times,” Comer said.

The cost for the software is estimated to be $5,553. Annual updates will cost $300 to $500.

In other action, the council was briefed on the installation of signs lowering the speed limit on Peosta Community Parkway from 25 to 20 mph. Citizens previously expressed concerns about the speed, and council members in August agreed to adjust the limit.

Council members also tabled possible action related to a development agreement with A.J. Spiegel Trust for a project at 9525 Cox Springs Road. Because the building project is in an urban renewal area, city officials expect to refund up to $175,000 in tax and infrastructure rebates to Spiegel.

Baethke said the trust, in addition to installing the building, completed utility and infrastructure work in the area.

“So we’re reimbursing some of that cost with the property taxes,” she said. “(Spiegel) put those in and looped them in a way that other people can use it too. It’s was a benefit not just to his property, but others.”

That move will be discussed further during an upcoming meeting.

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